This is Ferrari’s latest addition to their V-8 line-up that is designed to evoke the old 250 California. The car is made of lightweight aluminum with a retractable hardtop, and is a 2+ cabin (it’s a two-seater with a hint of a back seat bench. Packing a direct-injection 4.3 liter V-8 that pumps out 460hp and 358 ft-lbs. of torque, the vehicle transmits power through a electronically-controlled, dual clutch six-speed gearbox, that pushes it from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. It has several settings: sport, comfort, and CST-off. The electronics include an iPod dock, USB ports, and Bluetooth. The gearing is actuated with paddle shifters on the steering column, a suspension evolved from F1 racing cars, and carbon fiber Brembo brakes.

PM:  +2   RED: 3   CRUS: 100   MAX: 193   RNG: 200   FCE: 2   STR: 7   COST: $135,000

GM Information: The California gains a +1EF to double back and quick turn maneuvers (including hard braking.)


Coming soon is the Kimber Solo Carry 9mm, a lightweight handgun about the size of the Kel-Tec .380.  It’s about half an inch longer and wider in barrel and handle with a weight comparable to the loaded FN Fiveseven — easily a well-concealable sidearm that would be perfect for that undercover operative or officer.

They haven’t hit the stores yet, so the specs for James Bond: 007 RPG are speculative, but should be close.  The internals look to be a striker fired weapon like the Glock, but with the same barrel and recoil spring assembly as the 1911 (which Kimber excels at.)

PM: 0   S/R: 2   AMMO: 6   DC: E   CLOS: 0-2   LONG: 8-14   CON: -4   JAM: 92+   DR: +1   RL: 1   COST: $750

UPDATE! Having talked to several owners of the Solo here in New Mexico, it seems to be more than finicky on it’s ammunition. The JAM rating represents the Solo shooting 124grain and higher ammo. If using the mil-spec or junk 115 grain you’re likely to find (or lighter self-defense loads like the Pow-R-Ball, the jam is 85+. And that’s being kind.

For the Kimber haters, there’s also the Ruger LC9 coming soon — a bit larger (an inch on the barrel and a half inch on the grip) than the Solo, but about the same weight.

PM: 0   S/R: 2   AMMO: 7   DC: E   CLOS: 0-2   LONG: 8-14   CON: -3   JAM: 98+   DR: +1   RL: 1   COST: $500

I’ve launched myself into a project to distract me, when needed, from the dissertation work.  That project is a revision of some of the rules from the old James Bond: 007 RPG from the 1980s.  The project has been taking on a greater life, however, as I find myself scrapping some of the old rules, rewriting others, and generally turning the venerable old standby for my espionage or modern games and turning into a new game system.

Some of the changes include new rules to emulate the change in action movies — specifically adding martial arts specializations for the hand-to-hand combat, “spray and pray” style gun fu for the fire combat, and a new initiative system that matches the bidding of the chase rules — making the action sequences consistent and ridding us of the d6 that always felt pasted on to the d100 of JB:007.   The effects of your Speed rating are being reworked, as well, to fit the modern action movie style.

Fields of Experience are being reworked to have mechanical impact in gameplay, interacting with the skills — in the original system, they were an ad-on, essentially skills that players didn’t want to spend character points on.  FOE will be more of a specialization that can impact one or more skills.

Skills:  First Aid will become a skill you buy.  Connoisseur will become a Field of Experience, as will Photography.  Skill ratings, and attribute ratings are being tweaked, as well.

Weaknesses had little impact on the character that I saw in game play with the old system.  There are now actual mechanical effects from weaknesses on the ease of tests, etc.

Hero Points — originally, the game had you earn HP for an excellent success, now you will gain HP for playing your strengths and weaknesses, for ideas and actions that help the plot along, as well as excellent results.  This will allow the character more opportunities for Hero Points.

Gear will get a face lift.  Cars are a lot more performance oriented, so the stat will be reworked to match the realities of modern vehicles.  Weapons will see changes to more accurately reflect the real world.

The goal is a modernized system that still keeps all the things that made JB:007 great, while making it a bit more robust and also backward compatible.

I’ve started working on tweaking the James Bond: 007 rules set, starting with trying to make fields of experience and weaknesses more interesting mechanically (search the site, there’s a couple of posts but it’s Sunday morning and I’m to lazy to link to it this moment) and now turning my attention toward the combat system.

One of the more interesting and fun mechanics (but also a hard one for new gamers to grasp) is bidding on initiative in chases.  It allows the players to craft more intense and dangerous chase sequences for their (and your) entertainment. I propose that bidding be streamlined (we’ve had bidding wars go from Ease Factor 8 all the way down to EF1/2…it gets a bit slow.)  Here’s the idea:  the GM sets a base bid for the NPCs, then the players respond (if there are multiple vehicles involved they may either agree to bid the same, or each bid themselves.  The NPCs get a chance to stay on their original bid or try to best the players.  The players get one last chance to underbid the NPCs.

Example:  James and John are on motorcycles, trying to catch the villain in his Jaguar XK8.  The villain has a fast car with good acceleration and decent cornering (PM: +1)  He bids a 6 (with the PM he’ll test against EF7…almost certain make the test successfully.)  James and John are on a Triumph Speed Triple and Yamaha R6 respectively — both get PM: +2 for the test — and John has a better skill in Driving (but has terrible luck rolling on tests like these.)  James bids an EF4 — he’s gunning the Speed Triple for all she’s worth and dodging traffic to get in close.  John decides to redline the R6 and wheelies the Yamaha through the traffic with an EF3.  James doesn’t really want to go that low on a two-wheeled vehicle.  The villain counters with an EF2 — he’s weaving through traffic and even goes into oncoming lanes, taking a hard left at the first light they approach.  Bikes…they don’t turn so well at high speed…

John really wants this guy — he punches it and bids EF1, but James decides to back off and let the villain go first.  John rolls his Driving with a PC18 at EF3 (thanks to the R6’s PM) and needs a 54.  He rolls a 67 — he’s going to fail.  He tests his safety roll since he failed (and would have since he was under the bike’s REDline.)  He needs a 54 and true to form rolls 78.  He weaves through traffic, guns the bike into a wheelie — and looks great! — then had to break hard for the turn as he gets alongside the Jaguar…and locks the breaks.  The R6 throws him for a medium wound to him and bike!

The Jaguar takes the turn, the bad guy gets an acceptable success and slews the car around the turn in a screech of tires and plume of smoke as he burns rubber.  James needs a total of EF6 to stay with him.  His patience, backing off a bit, letting the others get stupid, allows him to hook the turn on the Speed Triple at EF8 on his Driving of 15 (90 to succeed) and gets a 32 — a good result!  He’s closed the distance from long to close….

Now let’s extend this bidding system to initiative…there’s an old saying in the gun community: Better to be accurate than fast.  In this case, the bidding is applied to your combat tests and allows us to ditch the pesky d6 that has always been (to my eye) out of character with the percentile nature of the system.

In this case, the villain decided to do the classic jump out from behind cover, snap off a few shots and jump back to cover.  The GM decides this is an EF5 bid for the villain.  He has a Speed of 2 — if he wins, it’s an EF7 to try and hit the boys — James and John — before applying dodging mods, etc.

James is going to do the knee slide behind the nearest cover — say, a 55 gallon drum (yeah, we’re in an abandoned warehouse for the denouement) — and bids EF4 (with his Speed, it’s EF6 if he succeeds).  John on the other hand is going to haul ass into the fray, using a convenient set of pallets to leap into the air, double-guns blazing, screaming “aaah!”  That’s an EF3 John decides.  The villain isn’t going for it.

John goes first and with his Fire Combat PC18 rolls a 68 and 44 on his pair of 1911 .45s.  One shot bangs off of the big industrial-looking circuit breaker box the baddie is hiding behind, the other clips him in the slightly exposed shoulder.  James goes next — sliding across the floor to cover and rolls 90 and 81 on his Fire Combat PC17:  with the cover knocking his EF to 4, he misses.  It looked good, but was wholly ineffective.

The bad guy goes for it, jumping out from cover and snapping a few shots at the most obvious target — John sailing through the air and screaming “aaaah!”  He has an EF7 before we apply dodging mods for John — EF5.  He has a PC14 for his Fire Combat:  75 and 51.  The first shot goes high and blows out a window on the second floor of the abandoned warehouse/steel mill/whereverthehell we’re shooting this movie and the second clips John with an acceptable success.  On the DC: F of the baddie’s Glock 17, that’s a light wound.  After the bike accident earlier in the session, John’s character is getting seriously tashed up…

This is a preliminary version of the combat bidding I’ve been working on, but a more mature version of it might be coming to a blog — or possibly a game book — near you.

In keeping with the game tonight — more adventures of Artemis Campbell, this time it’s 1948 Yugoslavia — here’s a pair of rifles for early Cold War jaunts:

Springfield Armory M1C Garand .30-06

The M1 was one of the issue rifles for the American forces during WWII and Korea, and could be had in 7.62 NATO or .30-06 (the C is a sniper weapon and was usually in the latter; ballistically, they don’t differ enough to have different stats.)  The rifle is a semi-automatic with a “clip” of eight rounds.  On the last round, the clip is also ejected.  The weapon has to be fed through the breach and the charging lever actuated to load the weapon.

PM: +1   S/R: 2   AMMO: 8   DC: J   CLOS: 0-50   LONG: 120-200   CON: n/a   JAM: 96+   DR: -3   RL: 2

GM Information:  The M1C and D had a sniper scope and has a LONG of 240-400.

And for the Yugos…

Samozaryadniy Karabin sistemi Simonova (SKS) 7.62x39mm

This is the carbine that much of the Eastern Bloc is using throughout the 1940s and 1950s.  It was introduced during the final year of WWII, and the Yugoslavians cranked out tons of them.  They are very robust and reliable, and this semiautomatic was the predecessor of the AK-47, which borrowed heavily from this design.  The 7.62mm was less powerful than it’s 7.62x51mm NATO competition, but accurate and deadly enough at the ranges for which it was designed (out to about 500 yards.)  They are fed either by a box magazine or by a stripper clip system similar to that of the Mauser M1897 broomhandle.  They are still popular in civilian markets.

PM: 0   S/R: 2   AMMO: 10   DC: I   CLOS: 0-20   LONG: 50-90   CON: n/a   JAM: 98+   DR: -3   RL: 2

GM Information:  The bayonet on an SKS gives a PM: +1   DC: +2.

A note on the ballistics and damages of the .30(ish) calibers….the Q Manual gives the .303 British cartridge a damage of I.  The .303 British round was  much more powerful than the 7.62x39mm round — on par with the .30-06 and in the same area as the .308/7.62x51mm NATO round.  Most of the .308 weapons are given a K damage, so a 7.62mm M1 should have a DC: K.  The .303 I place at DC: J, like the .30-06, more for the spotty quality of ammunition; when properly loaded, it’s just as lethal as .308.

Here’s something for that James Bond: 007 campaign that’s taking place in the 1960s:  the Iso Grifo.  Built by the Iso Rivolta between 1961 and 1974, designed by Giotto Bizzarinni, who thought of it as an improved Ferrari 250GT (which he had also designed), with bodywork design by the Bertone coachworks.

The original Iso Grifo GL is a two door, two seat vehicle using a Chevrolet 327 V8 from the Corvette that was producing 400 hp, and after 1968 had a 427 V8 upgrade.  The vehicle was capable of 0-60mph in 6 seconds with a top speed of 170mph.  These cars were blazing fast and rare for their time, making them a great “style piece” for a character.

PM: +2   RED: 4   CRUS: 80   MAX: 170   RNG: 220   FCE: 2   STR: 6   COST: $7000 (1960s)

The 427 version…

And the AC/3 racing version…in action!

No time tonight for the descriptive niceties…and you’ve got internet access, don’t you? (chuckle…)  So without further ado:  the Audi R8 V10:

PM: +2   RED: 2   CRUS: 80   MAX: 197   RNG: 200   FCE: 2   STR: 7   COST: $200,000

Sometimes, we overlook the small things…  Recently, I came into possession of a Surefire E2D Defender Executive flashlight.  It’s a tactical flashlight with a 60+ lumen light (more if I put an LED lamp in it) and a combat bezel around the light and the activation button on the butt.  Adapters can let you hang it under your handgun (if you have a rail system like most polymer and Kimber combat handguns have, or on your rifle (same.)

The flashlight can be used as a self-defense weapon, striking with the striking bezel.  This adds a +1DC in the James Bond: 007 game (or gives a d2B in Cortex.)

Additionally, the intense light of the E2D can be used to momentarily stun an attack by flashing it in their eyes.  This requires the target to be at ranges of less than 10 feet, and a Fire Combat test with a base EF5.  A quality result of 4 (average), means the target is semi-blinded for the combat round, with a -1EF to his/her actions; a QR3 gives a -2EF to actions, a QR2 means they are -2EF this round and -1EF next round, and a QR 1 that they are incapable of action in the current round and at a -2EF for the next combat round.  (Yes, it really is that bloody bright when shone in your eyes in darkness or low-light conditions.)

Cortex rules for using the light as a blinding weapon:  The character makes an AGL+ Athletics or Guns test.  Success adds the number of points the roll was made by to the target’s actions for the combat round.  Extraordinary success means the target has half that modifier against them the following round.

’cause sometime you just need something scorchingly fast…


This motorcycle was designed to be the fastest production bike of its time.  While it is computer governed to 186mph as a top speed, a bit of tinkering allows the machine to top the 200mph mark.  Powered by a 1300cc inline four cylinder motor that produces 197hp and 102 ft-lbs of torque that shoots the 550lb vehicle from stop to 60 in under 3 seconds.  Teh bike is comfortable for long hauls, as well as hooning about.

PM: +2   RED: 3   CRUS: 80   MAX: 186 (220)   RNG:  180   FCE: 0   STR: 1   COST: $12,000

GM Information:  +2EF Pursue/Flee, -1EF to double back maneuvers.

I was reading through an article on Jerry Miculek today — he’s a shooter for Smith & Wesson in the USPDA competition.  The guy is a freak of nature, capable of accurately putting 5 rounds downrange in .45 of a second!  That got me thinking about my own effective rate of fire with a handgun, rifle, etc…even with my 10mm, I can drop with some accuracy rounds at a rate of 1.5/second.  Twice that with a 9mm or the 5.7mm.

The rate of fire in the James Bond: 007 RPG has always seemed a bit slow to me.  Granted, that’s because the firefights in the old movies usually consisted of the actor taking aim and firing a round, maybe two, in a cautious and considered manner.  But since the likes of Martin Riggs and John McClane came on the scene, the protagonists are a bit more quick n the trigger — in line with what real firefights are like.  (Most police in shootings are surprised by how fast things happen.)

The Action Round for the game is described as 3-5 seconds.  That two second wiggle room was designed to give the GM some leeway in what to allow the characters to do, but it is a bit long for a fist- or firefight.  So I propose a harder target for the time period: 5 second, or 12 action rounds a minute.  What can you do in five seconds?

Figure most people can achieve 2-3 short actions, like shoot something, change a magazine, and maybe do some kind of shuffling movement.  The characters in the game are supposed to be trained, if not exceptional, in moments of action.  So I propose they can do up to an action an action a second.  (Just timing myself now, I was able to dry fire three times on three different targets around the room with a handgun…in three seconds.)

Suggestion 1:  the actions a person can take in the action round are equal to their SPEED, as in the rules.  What an action entails:  movement (from shuffling (to give the opponent attempting to hit a -1EF) to running, popping up from cover and getting back down [each an action!]), changing a magazine for a weapon (with the reload time now being the number of actions the move takes; so a  tube-fed shotgun’s RL: 5 would take a character with a Speed of 2 just over 10 seconds…about right under ideal conditions), dropping an object or picking one up, taking a bead (to get the +3EF), engaging a target (so with a Speed of 2, you could engage two targets …but could not move or change mags), or do that many HTH actions (either attack or defense.)

Suggestion 2:  The number of targets a character can engage with a firearm is equal to their Speed, and they may fire a number of rounds at each target equal to their Speed or the S/R of the weapon (whichever is lower.)  If they shoot at a single target, the rounds that can use are equal to the Speedx2.  If the character can fire 5 or more rounds at a target, resolve it like burst/autofire with one roll and add +2DC to the weapon (So a Beretta 92 in the hands of a character with a speed of 3 could go Martin Riggs for 6 rounds, with the gun DC rising from F to H.)

For burst or autofire weapons, the number of rounds is the maximum number of targets that could be hit by the burst or strafing attack, minus the QR of the test (so an MP5 with a S/R of 6 could hit up to six people, but with a QR of 4, at best the character hit two targets.)  Instead of gaining negative modifiers to their Ease Factor for the number of people they are engaging  (Spray Fire rules, p.50, main book), the character gains a -1EF for each 10′ wide area.  Each extra 10′ arc also halves the maximum number of people you can hit.   So if you have to spray an area 20′ across with an M4 carbine (S/R: 2 or 10), you would gain a -2EF and could only hit up to 5 people.  Now you could mitigate this a bit by taking a number of your actions — say you have a Speed of 2 — two bursts of fire (really one long extended one) across the 20′ would be two 10′ arc attacks.

Suggestion 3: Using spray fire to do suppressive fire (keep an enemy’s head down):  You’re not really trying to hit anything, and your Ease Factor to do this is EF5.  You automatically use the maximum number of rounds you could use on a single target (for a handgun with S/R:2 and a Speed of 3, that would be 4 rounds, or the an autofire weapon’s second rating [S/R: 2/6 for example].)  For each action used, you gain a +1EF for the test.  Aditionally, the bad guys will keep their heads down for an extra round/extra success.

Example:  If you have a Speed of 3 and a handgun with an S/R: 2, you fire 6 rounds for suppressive fire.  The gun has a magazine with 15 rounds, so you decided to use all of your actions on suppressive fire, hoping to allow your teammate to move unseen to an advantageous position.  The total rounds fired would be 15, with a +2EF to the test.  The character gets a QR3 — the bad guys stay down not just this round, but the next.

Suggestion 4:  Hand-to-hand combat is a bit more time consuming than pumping a trigger.  You are, by necessity, moving — shuffling feet, swinging arms or kicking, grappling or otherwise engaged in multiple complex actions.  The number of actions is equal to the character Speed.  The character can use the actions for attack or defense (not in the original rules.)  Attacks are handled as they are in the original rules, but if a character chooses to, they may instead defend from an attack, using their HTH Combat skill.

Example:  Bill is in a fight with a couple of goons.  He has initiative and chooses to punch Goon 1 in the face, trying for a knockout blow, but wants to use his second action as a defense, blocking an attack from Goon 2.  He tests against Goon 1 (with a -2EF for the knockout blow) and succeeds.  Goon1 is down and Goon 2 swings a lamp at Bill.  Goon one hits him with a QR3 (Good) — Bill tests his HTH against the QR3 (that’s his Ease Factor) and succeeds.  The attack fails.

Suggestion 5:  New Speed Ratings.  No one is so slow they’ll act once every 10 seconds (Speed 0 in the original game rules.)  So here’s a more realistic Speed rating.

Speed is figured by adding DEXterity and PERception:  2-6=Speed 1, 7-14=Speed 2, 15-22=Speed 3, 23-28=Speed 4, 29-30=Speed 5.

With this last suggestion, there’s the possibility of a character, really going super-badass.  If a GM wanted to avoid this, they might be worth it to use Draw on a firearm or melee weapon to slow the number of attacks (so a submachinegun with a DR: -2 would mean no more than 3 targets with a Speed of 5.)

Comments and suggestions are welcome.